Family Law

Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Family Law

I have been legally separated since 9/09 and unfortunately

Customer Question
have had three attorneys for...
I have been legally separated since 9/09 and unfortunately have had three attorneys for various reasons resulting in one delay after another in getting this matter resolved. My wife's attorney is also well known for churning cases and has amassed a $30K legal bill. Our situation . . . . I work for the Federal government and am a W-2 employee. The wife is an RN but has not worked full time recently. One 16 year old at home, a 21 year old in college. No businesses to divide nor real estate other than the marital home. Assets include my 401K account, her Roth IRA, a joint mutual fund, my Thrift Savings Account and Federal Employees Retirement System balance (have worked for the government for 7 years).

I have received promise after promise of a settlement proposal that was to be provided since 10/09 . . . and when we went to mediation in 7/10, what was provided was entirely one-sided and unacceptable.

We had a preliminary hearing in early October where at least the martial home was decreed to be sold and it is now listed for $359K (bad time to sell . . . . and we had a buyout offer from the government for last Fall for $379K cash!). We were also ordered to go back for another full day of mediation which cost $750 per hour for the 3 attorneys and resulted in some agreement but nothing where we could both agree to sign the agreement.

The final court date is scheduled for January 2011.

So now my question . . . . .

My attorney has been in continuing discussions with the mediator and opposing counsel. I have reviewed the draft agreement but it seems less and less fair as I review it. What I wanted to see was what I should expect since I am being told to "accept the offer and move on". The points that stick out are:

1) For alimony, the wife's earning ability is being imputed as minimum wage; i.e., $7.25/hour. With my salary being about $60/hour, the alimony is being computed as being $2,400 perpetual . . . . being an RN, does minimum wage sound realistic and if not, what can I push for; i.e., $10/hr+?

2) Wife is demanding I pay health insurance for her. She has no pre-existing conditions and can get insurance on her own. Am I required to provide coverage and if so, is there a time limit? I would be willing to offer basic PPO coverage (not the Cadillac Blue Cross plan I have now) for 3 years - is that realistic to have the court accept?

3) Tax Return - she is demanding that we file married and joint for 2010 despite the fact we have been legally separated the entire year and all taxes have been paid by as as were the expenses that could be deducted. The attorneys are suggesting we file joint and I give the refund to her attorney for legal fees. Should I accept this (what would the court order) or hold for filing either joint (and offering a small percentage such as 20% to her) or file married and separate?

4) Attorney Fees - Despite going through 3 attorneys, my fees have amounted to about $10,000. Her attorney is claiming about $30,000 yet nothing has been done other than a lot of calls to the wife. I am willing to pay $7,500 but the mediator is suggesting $12,500 is fair . . . . thoughts?

5) The sale of the marital home may in fact result in negative equity. The wife is saying we split profits equally yet I absorb any loss . . . . can this in fact be court ordered considering we had a buyout offer which she declined last Fall?

6) I was to receive a relocation incentive if I remain in my current duty station for 18 months. The wife and her attorney are demanding half of this bonus which would have been earned after we legally separated. Does she have any legal claim to this incentive amount?

Thanks . . . . .
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Family Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Family Law Question
Answered in 30 minutes by:
11/2/2010
Family Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 7 years ago
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
Experience: Retired
Verified
1) For alimony, the wife's earning ability is being imputed as minimum wage; i.e., $7.25/hour. With my salary being about $60/hour, the alimony is being computed as being $2,400 perpetual . . . . being an RN, does minimum wage sound realistic and if not, what can I push for; i.e., $10/hr+?


A: An RN is one of the most desirable job descriptions in the current economy. Earning capacity of $7.25 is absurd. I would obtain an expert vocational evaluator to consider your wife's real earning capacity, and tell my opponent that if we go to trial, I will make mince meat out of this frivolous assertion.


2) Wife is demanding I pay health insurance for her. She has no pre-existing conditions and can get insurance on her own. Am I required to provide coverage and if so, is there a time limit? I would be willing to offer basic PPO coverage (not the Cadillac Blue Cross plan I have now) for 3 years - is that realistic to have the court accept?


A: Wife needs to get a job. I would avoid orders for anything other than cash, because non-cash orders are capable of changing - and with health care, the only direction is up!


3) Tax Return - she is demanding that we file married and joint for 2010 despite the fact we have been legally separated the entire year and all taxes have been paid by as as were the expenses that could be deducted. The attorneys are suggesting we file joint and I give the refund to her attorney for legal fees. Should I accept this (what would the court order) or hold for filing either joint (and offering a small percentage such as 20% to her) or file married and separate?


A: A taxpayer who lives separate or apart for the entire tax year must file as single or head of household. Based upon your stated facts, you must file as single. Any other filing status is tax fraud.


4) Attorney Fees - Despite going through 3 attorneys, my fees have amounted to about $10,000. Her attorney is claiming about $30,000 yet nothing has been done other than a lot of calls to the wife. I am willing to pay $7,500 but the mediator is suggesting $12,500 is fair . . . . thoughts?


A: The court will divide your total obligation in half. Don't offer to pay more than one half of the total.


5) The sale of the marital home may in fact result in negative equity. The wife is saying we split profits equally yet I absorb any loss . . . . can this in fact be court ordered considering we had a buyout offer which she declined last Fall?


A: Laugh at them. The objective of frivolous demands is to emotionally disable you in the hope that you will just throw in the towel. Note, however that family law judges can and do make absurd orders, that are seemingly, and probably are, pulled right out of thin air. So, if you go to trial , expect the unexpected, and you won't be disappointed.

6) I was to receive a relocation incentive if I remain in my current duty station for 18 months. The wife and her attorney are demanding half of this bonus which would have been earned after we legally separated.


A: It's your separate property. In the end, however, everything is a bargaining chip. You just have to get used to that reality.


General comment: You and your spouse are so far apart that it's a waste of time to negotiate. Though, frankly, there is one issue that is worth negotiating over. My goal is always to try to get the other spouse to waive all future rights to alimony. In my view, it is worth a significant amount of money to have the peace of mind knowing that when the judge signs the judgment/decree, you are done forever.



Edited by socrateaser on 11/2/2010 at 3:47 AM EST
Ask Your Own Family Law Question
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,498
39,498 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Retired

socrateaser is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it.

LeeMichigan

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

11,875 satisfied customers

Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.

LawTalk

LawTalk

Attorney and Counselor at Law

9,025 satisfied customers

30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

7,856 satisfied customers

I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

6,562 satisfied customers

JD, 17 years legal experience including family law

Barrister

Barrister

Lawyer

3,415 satisfied customers

Attorney with 17 years experience

P. Simmons

P. Simmons

Lawyer

3,398 satisfied customers

16 yrs. of experience including family law.

RobertJDFL

RobertJDFL

Lawyer

2,787 satisfied customers

Experienced in multiple areas of the law.

< Previous | Next >

Related Family Law Questions
Can my alimony money be taken to pay my exes lawyer fee for
Can my alimony money be taken to pay my exes lawyer fee for going to court? … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
7,340 satisfied customers
Since we are divorcing how can I get alimony or spousal
since we are divorcing how can I get alimony or spousal support? … read more
Nisha Jones, Esq.
Nisha Jones, Esq.
Juris Doctorate
1,778 satisfied customers
I have a family law question. Pennsylvania. I'm in the
I have a family law question JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location. Customer: Pennsylvania JA: Has anything been filed or reported? Customer: I'm in the process of filing… read more
Roger
Roger
Litigation Attorney
Doctoral Degree
26,868 satisfied customers
I have a alimony request for termination due to cohabitation
I have a alimony request for termination due to cohabitation If I move into my own apartment before the hearing in 2 months will a judge still terminate… read more
Nisha Jones, Esq.
Nisha Jones, Esq.
Juris Doctorate
1,778 satisfied customers
I need to locate a family law attorney in the Southlake
I need to locate a family law attorney in the Southlake Texas area … read more
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco
3,386 satisfied customers
How do you normally pay alimony. Maryland. Just the original
how long do you normally pay alimony JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in? Customer: maryland JA: Has anything been filed or reported? Customer: jus… read more
Nisha Jones, Esq.
Nisha Jones, Esq.
Juris Doctorate
1,778 satisfied customers
If you are in a divorce mediation at the courthouse with
If you are in a divorce mediation at the courthouse with your lawyer and the other party is representing via telephone due to being in another state. How do you know if no one else was conferenced or … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,854 satisfied customers
What is evidentiary declarations in a family law ex parte.
What is evidentiary declarations in a family law ex parte … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,854 satisfied customers
Question is regarding family law. More so to the adoption of
Question is regarding family law. More so to the adoption of my son, while I was deployed and signed the paper work without an officer present, … read more
Expert
Expert
Managing Partner
Doctoral Degree
8 satisfied customers
New York Family Law. Is there a maximum time (statute of
New York Family Law. Is there a maximum time (statute of limitations) for when one can file Motion for (reimbursement of) Attorney Fees and Expenses with the New York Family Courts? If so, what is the… read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
10,686 satisfied customers
I am in New Jersey. It is a nj family law matter dealing
I am in New Jersey JA: Has anything been filed or reported? Customer: yes JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you? Customer: it is a nj family law matter dealing with alimon… read more
INFOLAWYER
INFOLAWYER
Partner
Doctoral Degree
56,271 satisfied customers
Family Law— residing in Fla. What is the definition of
Family Law— residing in Fla.What is the definition of "visitation" should one parent retain custody of a 3 year old childCan the custodial parent move out of state?Thank you… read more
Expert
Expert
Managing Partner
Doctoral Degree
8 satisfied customers
Will this help with alimony or retirement payments and
Will this help with alimony or retirement payments and insurances … read more
Lucy
Lucy
Juris Doctor
129 satisfied customers
Can an settlement agreement signed in mediation go back to
Can an settlement agreement signed in mediation go back to mediation … read more
Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
Juris Doctor
11,875 satisfied customers
What are the requirements to recieve alimony in a case of
What are the requirements to recieve alimony in a case of adultery and how much proof do I need of my claim? … read more
Legal Expert Justin
Legal Expert Justin
Law Degree
229 satisfied customers
This is a colorado family law question. Is there any risk
This is a colorado family law question. Is there any risk associated with paying my wife out of the house prior to submitting documents to a court for a divorce decree?My wife needs the money; I offer… read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
45 satisfied customers
After custody mediation today, the mediator has provisional
After custody mediation today, the mediator has provisional minutes of settlement. Are these useless unless they are turned into a court order?… read more
Lucy
Lucy
Juris Doctor
129 satisfied customers
Getting a CA divorce and agreed to mediation. Will the
Getting a CA divorce and agreed to mediation. Will the mediator need a budget from me to determine spousal support? How does that work? I know about the standard alimony calculator, but not much else.… read more
Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq
Juris Doctor
3,185 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x